Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rage Against The Machine

It would be very easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding the return of RATM. Having spent years holding themselves out as America's most political musicians (which Serj Tankian, at the very least, might have something to say about) it is hard to escape a slight feeling of unease at a reunion which owes more to money than the feeling that there is anything new for them to say. All of which means that, for all of the good points, what we really get tonight is RATM-by-numbers. We get the silent protest - in this case, standing, heads bowed, on stage wearing orange jumpsuits and with black hoods over their heads whilst an air raid siren plays. We get the controversial statement, as Zack de la Rocha explained his view that George W Bush should be tried for war crimes and called for Tony Blair to join him. And, of course, we get 'Killing in the Name' - which is what at least 50% of the crowd were here for anyway.

None of this is to deny the almost magical chemistry which exists between the four band members. Despite their differences, the act works with them together in a way in which it just doesn't when they are apart. De la Rocha as a solo artist was just a ranting polemicist. The others formed Audioslave with Chris Cornell and were, frankly, more boring than a wet Sunday listening to Radio 3. Put them all together and, suddenly, the ability of Tom Morello and Tim Commerford to counterpoint de la Rocha's raving by coaxing their guitars into making sounds they were surely never meant to becomes more than appealing.

There's no doubting that the musicianship here is exceptional. They don't take those hoods off for opener 'Bombtrack' and there aren't many bands who could play that well with little or no way to see their instruments. The problem, though, is that it all gets a little wearing after a time. There's very little light and shade in RATM's music and over an hour of being shouted at gets a bit wearing. With consumate showmanship they save 'Killing...' until the last song of the encore and, frankly, that is enough for almost everyone.

Cheese says: They took so long to come on stage (they were over 15 minutes late) that I dozed off. Glad I woke up in time to shout along with 'Killing in the Name', though.


Post a Comment

<< Home